Federal Manager's Daily Report

After several delays in recent months the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has passed a substitute version of long-awaited postal reform legislation on a 9 – 1 vote, paving the way for full Senate consideration.

The Postal Reform Act of 2014, sponsored by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chair Tom Carper, D-Del., and ranking member Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would address the burden of prefunding retiree health benefits at over $5 billion each year by stretching out the schedule and reducing the total requirement by a fifth.

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It would require arbitrators to render decisions in labor matters within 45 days of appointment and factor in the financial condition of the USPS in their decisions.

The bill would: establish criteria for the closing or consolidation or postal facilities that requires the consideration of other alternatives and community, business and employee impacts;authorize a delivery schedule of five – or fewer – days to residential addresses if volume falls below certain thresholds for at least a year; and require USPS to use the most cost effective form of mail delivery, including moving to centralized or curb-side delivery.

Amendments to the bill would allow the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn plant closures and postpone closures and service standard changes until a year after GAO reports on USPS compliance with service standards.